2013, bankers, Bush, CBO, Chris Christie, Citigroup, debt ceiling, deficits, Democrats, DHS, fiscal cliff, GE, George Carlin, Gold, Hurricane Sandy, IBM, Iran, Iraq, JP Morgan, Mainstream media, medicare, Middle class, National Debt, NDAA, Obama, oligarchs, owners, Patriot Act, payroll taxes, Propaganda, Recession, Republicans, Stock market, Tax credits, tax the rich, USD, Wall Street
I’ve put off writing an article about what is likely to happen in 2013 so I could peruse the thousands of other articles by reputable bloggers, paid pundits, Wall Street shills and captured charlatans to gather their wisdom. It’s essential that I make predictions for 2013 so I can write another article in December rationalizing why 90% of my predictions failed to materialize. Reading all of these 2013 prediction articles made things much clearer for me. I now know for sure:
- The stock market will reach an all-time high.
- The stock market will fall 42%.
- The economy will strengthen as the year progresses.
- The economy will descend into a depression.
- The USD will strengthen.
- The USD will collapse.
- Gas prices will set new highs.
- Gas prices will fall below 2012 levels.
- Gold will rise to $10,000 per ounce.
- Gold will drop below $1,000 per ounce.
- We will experience hyperinflation.
- We will experience horrific deflation.
- Obama will compromise with the Republicans and put the country on a path to prosperity.
- Obama will create a debt ceiling crisis and assume dictatorial powers as a result.
- Snooki will be a better mother than Kim Kardashian.
- Honey Boo Boo will beat I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant in the Neilson ratings.
The majority of 2013 prediction articles are written to support the agenda of the writer. Many are trying to sell newsletter subscriptions or investment services. Their predictions will match the theme of their newsletter. Others are Wall Street paid shills who will predict what they are paid to predict by their owners. Then there are the political hacks who tow the party line with their predictions. But no one can top the predictive powers of the CBO. They just put out their ten year updated forecast reflecting the fabulous fiscal cliff deal that saved the country. According to the CBO, the “compromise” to reduce our deficits will add a mere $4 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. I’m sure this will prove to be accurate. Just take a look at their 2002 projection, after passage of the Bush tax cuts:
The CBO predicted the FY2012 surplus would be $641 billion, the national debt would total $3.5 trillion, the debt held by the public would total $1.273 trillion, and GDP would total $17.2 trillion. They missed by that much.
The actual FY12 results were:
- The true deficit was $1.37 trillion (amount national debt increased – not the phony deficit number reported by the mainstream media).
- The national debt was $16.1 trillion.
- The debt held by the public was $11.3 trillion.
- GDP was $15.8 trillion.
Based on these results, I won’t be asking the CBO for help with my Super Bowl bet. Making ten year predictions is beyond worthless, but public policy in Washington DC is based on these useless CBO projections. The entire fiscal cliff kabuki theater fictitious crisis reveals the politicians and mainstream media pundits to be liars, fools and frauds. The tax the rich to cut the deficit storyline was sold to the public and won the day. Of course, the highly accurate CBO immediately revealed that the Orwellian named American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 adds $4 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. Based on the accuracy of their previous predictions, it’s a guarantee the national debt goes up by $8 trillion, as the rich take advantage of the thousands of loopholes in the IRS code they paid for to avoid paying the taxes expected by the CBO.
Hypocrisy abounds on both sides of the aisle in Washington DC and on the media company propaganda channels. As the national debt soared from $10.6 trillion on the day Obama took office to $16.4 trillion today, I heard shrieking liberal talking heads on MSNBC, CNN, and the rest of the liberal media blame the debt on the Bush tax cuts and the Bush wars. If the Bush tax cuts were so horrific, why did Obama and his minions just make 98% of these tax cuts permanent? Liberals held protest marches across the country against Bush’s wars and burned him in effigy. Obama’s defense budgets have been larger than Bush’s and he doubled down on our miserable failure in Afghanistan. You don’t hear a peep from the liberals about the warmongering Barack Obama who has kill lists and unleashes predator drones, killing women and children across the globe. Liberals pretend to be concerned about the welfare of the citizens, but continue to support a President that uses executive orders to imprison citizens indefinitely without charges, has expanded surveillance on citizens, has kept Guantanamo open, signs the continuation of the Patriot Act, and proposes overturning the Second Amendment by executive order. Liberals shriek about the evils of an unregulated Wall Street, while remaining silent as Obama hasn’t prosecuted a single banker for the greatest financial fraud in world history. You don’t hear a peep about Jon Corzine, who stole $1.2 billion from the accounts of farmers and ranchers. Liberals talk about regulation and then stand idly by while Wall Street lobbyists wrote the Dodd Frank law and insurance and drug company lobbyists wrote the Obamacare law. Liberal hypocrisy knows no bounds and is only matched by Neo-Con hypocrisy.
The Neo-Con controlled Republican Party is a pathetic joke. They have the guts to declare themselves the party of fiscal responsibility, after Bush’s eight year reign of error. He and his fiscally responsible party were handed a budget in surplus and managed to add $4.9 trillion to the national debt by waging undeclared wars, encouraging Wall Street to create the biggest fraudulent financial bubble in history, creating a new $16 trillion unfunded entitlement (Medicare Part D), cutting taxes without paying for them, and creating a massive new government agency (DHS) to take away our liberties and freedom. Federal government spending grew from $1.9 trillion to $3.0 trillion under Bush and the Republicans. Does that sound fiscally responsible?
Does anyone believe the Republican Party is serious about cutting anything? Tough guy Republicans like Big Chris Christie preach fiscal responsibility when going to war with teachers’ unions, but he squeals like a stuck pig when a $60 billion pork filled, unpaid for, Sandy Relief bill is held up in Congress. The courageous fiscally responsible Congress critters passed the entire pork filled, unfunded, bloated, vote buying joke. It included $28 billion to mitigate future disasters, $3 billion to repair or replace Federal assets, and $6 billion for transportation projects completely unrelated to Sandy damage. The hypocrisy of politicians who proclaim the $50 billion of 2013 fiscal cliff tax revenue as deficit cutting, and then immediately piss it away by paying people to rebuild their houses yards from the Atlantic Ocean while funding billions of non-disaster related projects is disgusting to behold. There is nothing like compromise to add another $60 billion to the national debt.
Our entire economic and political system is a farce. The American people are being played by the powerful interests that provide them with an illusion of choice. Both parties serve the interests of their masters and the fiscal cliff show and debt ceiling show are a form of reality TV to keep the masses alarmed, fearful, and believing there is actually a difference between the policies of the ruling class. The charade has played out in its full glory in the last few weeks with Obama convincing the masses he had stuck it to the rich, while in reality the working middle class got it good and hard when they got their January paychecks. This chart details the tax changes that went into effect on January 1.
The funniest part this fiscal fiasco farce is watching the reaction of the sheep who believed Obama and the mainstream media storyline. Obama was able to raise the published top rate on people making over $400,000. The newly defined “rich” laughed heartily as they know only fools pay anywhere near the top rate. The rich just call their tax advisor and instruct them to use one of the thousands of tax loopholes in the 75,000 page IRS tax code to “legally” avoid the new Obama rates. Meanwhile, both parties and their mainstream media mouthpieces downplayed the 2% payroll tax increase on every working American. This tax increase has been a complete surprise to the reality TV zombies and Facebook aficionados. Even college educated professionals in my office had no idea their next monthly paycheck was going to be $150 to $200 lighter. This will wipe out most, or all, of the annual raise they received. The tax will fall heavily on the 75% of households that make less than the $113,700 Social Security cutoff. For a struggling family of four earning the median income of $50,000, the $1,000 less in their paychecks will mean less food, putting off trips to the doctor, driving on bald tires, or not taking the family on a vacation to the Jersey shore. The $2,274 increase in taxes (.57%) for the Wall Street banker making $400,000 probably won’t put too much of a crimp in his Hamptons lifestyle.
The joke is on the American people as the rich will ante up maybe $50 billion of taxes in 2013, while the working middle class will be skewered for $125 billion. How’s that “Tax the Rich” slogan working out for you?
Only in the Orwellian capital of Washington DC would a bill that was supposed to provide tax relief to the middle class and spending cuts to reduce the deficit, actually increase the tax burden of a median household by $1,000 and perpetuate the pork spending payoffs to campaign contributors and friends of the slimy politicians that slither through the halls of Congress. The list of pork and bribes should be nauseating to hard working Americans across the country:
$30 billion extension of the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, even though we are supposedly in the 3rd year of economic recovery. Continuing to pay people to not work for two years will surely boost employment.
$14.3 billion for a two-year extension of the corporate research credit benefiting large technology companies like IBM and Hewlett Packard.
$12.2 billion one-year extension of the production tax credit for wind power.
$11.2 billion two- year extension of the active financing exception, which lets GE, Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Citigroup Inc. (C), among others, defer taxes on financing income they earn outside the U.S.
$1.9 billion extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring workers from disadvantaged groups, benefitting mega-restaurant chains like McDonalds.
$1.8 billion extension of the New Markets Tax Credit for investments in low- income areas, benefitting JP Morgan and other Wall Street shyster banks.
$650 million tax credit for manufacturing energy-efficient appliances, benefitting mega-corps like Whirlpool.
$430 million for Hollywood through “special expensing rules” to encourage TV and film production in the United States. Producers can expense up to $15 million of costs for their projects. NBC thanks you.
$331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50% of the cost to maintain tracks that they own or lease.
$248 million in special expensing rules for films and television programs.
$222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the islands and imported to the mainland.
$78 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
$59 million for algae growers through tax credits to encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
$4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include electric motorbikes.
So when you see the cut in your take home pay, just comfort yourself knowing that JP Morgan, Citigroup, GE and hundreds of mega-corporations were able to retain their tax breaks. As they have done for decades, Congress and the President agreed to address spending cuts at a future date. Of course, a government spending cut isn’t actually a cut. It’s a lower increase than their previous projection. Nothing is ever cut in Washington DC. The austerity storyline is a lie. Not a dime has been cut from the Federal budget. Intellectually dishonest ideologues try to peddle the wind down of the Obama $800 billion porkulus program as a cut in Federal spending. They sold this Keynesian “shovel ready” crap to a gullible public as stimulus to jumpstart the economy. Federal spending was $3.0 trillion before the Obama stimulus. After the two year stimulus was pissed away without helping the economy one iota, the baseline should have been back in the $3.2 trillion range. Instead, FY13 Federal spending will be $3.8 trillion. This hasn’t kept liberal ideologues like Krugman and his minions in the mainstream media from blaming crazy Tea Party Republicans for inflicting horrendous austerity measures on the poor and disadvantaged.
The chart above reveals a few truths:
- The country has been blessed with two of the worst presidents in U.S. history over the last twelve years.
- When Federal spending as a percentage of GDP is beyond two standard deviations over the normal range during the last sixty years, your problem is not lack of tax revenue.
- Obama and the current Congress are spending at a level of 24% of GDP versus the 18% of GDP when Clinton left office. This amounts to a nose bleed altitude $950 billion higher than the level Clinton was spending in his final year in office.
The Op-eds in liberal rags across the land decry the lack of civility in Washington DC and plead for politicians on both sides of the aisle to come together and compromise for the good of the country. This line of bullshit would be laughable if it wasn’t so wretched in its falsity. Compromise is what has left this country with a $16.4 trillion national debt, $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities, and $1 trillion deficits as far as the eye can see. Democrats have compromised and let the Republicans create a warfare state. Republicans have compromised and let Democrats create a welfare state. The two headed monster living in the swamps of Washington DC just voted to increase taxes on all Americans. They voted to hand criminal Wall Street banks $700 billion. They voted to pass the Patriot Act. They voted to pass the NDAA. They’ve allowed the President to wage undeclared wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Iran. They voted for a $663 billion Defense bill that includes tens of billions the Secretary of Defense doesn’t even want. They will vote to raise the debt ceiling in the next two months. The last thing this country needs is more compromise. We can’t afford any more compromise. The chart above proves what can happen when gridlock ensues, spending restrictions are enforced, and confrontation displaces compromise. After the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, gridlock ensued for the next six years. PAYGO restrictions in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 didn’t allow unfettered spending increases. The result was Federal spending falling from 22% of GDP to 18% of GDP and a budget surplus. The Pay-Go restrictions expired in 2002 and Democrats and Republicans have compromised to the tune of a $10.2 trillion increase in the national debt in ten years. The hypocrisy of pandering deceitful politicians is boundless and shows utter contempt for the intelligence of the American populace.
“Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to. If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks, and veterans benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialist who track down loose nuclear materials wouldn’t get their paychecks. Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is in fact a safe bet. Markets could go haywire, interest rates would spike for anybody who borrows money – Every homeowner with a mortgage, every student with a college loan, every small business owner who wants to grow and hire. We are not a deadbeat nation.
It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy. It would slow down our growth, might tip us into recession. And ironically it would probably increase our deficit. So to even entertain the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd. Republicans in Congress have two choices here. They can act responsibly, and pay America’s bills, or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.” – President Barack Obama – January 14, 2013
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. The Senate continues to reject a return to the common sense Pay-go rules that used to apply. Previously, Pay-go rules applied both to increases in mandatory spending and to tax cuts.
The Senate had to abide by the common sense budgeting principle of balancing expenses and revenues. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘‘the buck stops here.’’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.” – Senator Barack Obama – March 16, 2006
I could have shown quotes from George W. Bush during the 2000 Presidential campaign talking about a non-interventionist foreign policy and no need for the U.S. to get involved in nation building and then proceeding to pre-emptively attack sovereign countries while wasting trillions and impoverishing unborn generations trying to create “democracy” in the Middle East at the point of a gun as a cover to protect “our” oil. The point is that we are being given the illusion of choice. Everyone knows the debt ceiling will be raised after another episode of Washington DC Kabuki Theater, presented by the corporate mainstream media in breathtaking detail, because the politicians are beholden to their owners and those owners want more of our money. That is why spending will never be willingly cut by the spineless puppet congressmen, as their strings are pulled by the corporate puppet masters and they dance to the tune of the banking oligarchs that own this country.
After witnessing the fighting of undeclared never ending wars, passage of freedom destroying legislation like the Patriot Act & NDAA, approval of pork barrel spending to the tune of hundreds of billions, rule by Executive Order, using ZIRP to extract hundreds of billions from senior citizen savers and give it to criminal Wall Street banks, forcing the American people at gunpoint to replenish the Wall Street banks with $700 billion after they had committed the greatest financial fraud in history, and a continuing trampling of the U.S. Constitution, the American people continue to remain willfully ignorant of the truth. The American Dream is dead. We’ve allowed a rich, privileged, elite few to achieve hegemony over our economic and political system with their control of the media and manipulation of our financial markets. They will collapse the country because they will never be satisfied with the amount of wealth and power they’ve accumulated. Their voracious greed will be their downfall. The sooner we can channel the anger of George Carlin, the sooner we can put an end to this corporate fascist reign of terror.
“Politicians are put there to give you that idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations, and they’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, and the City Halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear. They’ve got you by the balls.
They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want—they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interest. You know something, they don’t want people that are smart enough to sit around their kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.
It’s a big club and you ain’t in it! You and I are not in the Big Club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you in the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table is tilted folks, the game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on, the fact that Americans are and will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white, and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes every day. Because the owners of this country know the truth, it’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” – George Carlin
I never did get around to making my 2013 predictions. I’ll give it a stab in my next article: Apparitions in the Fog.
It seems we came within 1 foot of our very own Fukishima during Hurricane Sandy. If the sea level had been 1.2 feet higher it would have breached the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant’s flood defenses and shut down their diesel powered generators that were required to cool the plant. This is exactly what happened at Fukushima. Oyster Creek is an identical design to Fukushima. How come we haven’t heard about this in the MSM? I’m no expert, but when a category 1 hurricane surge can come within 1 or 2 feet of breaching a nuclear power plant, someone should be worried. Are you?
Nuclear Power Plant Flood Risk: Sandy Was Just a Warm-Up
As Hurricane Sandy approached the East Coast late last October, more than a dozen nuclear power plants from North Carolina stretching up to New England were in its wide-ranging path. On Oct. 29, the night that the eye of the storm made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, five nuclear plants were forced to either reduce power or make emergency shutdowns.
The most serious event was at the Oyster Creek Generating Station located in Lacey Township, near Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, about 40 miles north of Atlantic City. Amid 75-mile-an-hour winds, power to the region was knocked out, including at the Oyster Creek plant, just before 7 p.m. The plant’s backup diesel generators kicked on to keep its crucial cooling equipment functioning. Nevertheless, by 9 p.m. the plant’s pumps were facing another danger: rising floodwaters. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spokesperson Neil Sheehan said that Sandy brought a surge of 7.4 feet to Oyster Creek. The plant is obligated to prepare for the consequences of flooding at 8.5 feet, he said, and, at 9.0 or 9.5 feet — Sheehan wasn’t sure — the plant’s pump motors would begin to be flooded.
The storm surge led the plant to declare an “Alert” — the second step in theNRC’s four-tiered emergency action system.
David Tillman, spokesperson for Exelon, the utility company that owns Oyster Creek, would not answer specific questions about the evening Sandy hit the plant (such as the height to which the water level rose, the height of the pump motors, or the actions taken by the plant in response to the alert). Characteristically for the industry, he insisted that everything worked perfectly and that there were no problems.
The buffer that existed this time may be of little comfort in the future. For all the damage it caused, Sandy was only a Category 1 hurricane — Hurricane Katrina, by comparison, was a Category 3. Given the challenges even Sandy brought to the Northeast’s nuclear power plants, Remapping Debate decided to investigate the extent to which these facilities are prepared to deal with the flood risks widely expected to increase as a result of global warming.
What would be the consequences were a nuclear power plant to flood?
To grasp what a flood at a coastal nuclear power plant such as Oyster Creek would mean, Dave Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union for Concerned Scientists, told Remapping Debate it is worth reflecting on Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011. First, the plant — which ran on General Electric Mark I reactors, the same design as at Oyster Creek and 22 other nuclear plants in the U.S.— lost outside power due to the earthquake. Its backup generators switched on, and “the plant weathered [the earthquake] pretty well,” Lochbaum said. But then the floodwaters arrived, exceeding the facility’s sea wall. “That plant wasn’t unaware of the flooding potential, but the magnitude of the challenge they faced was just more than they could handle,” he said. Because the backup generators and pumps were flooded, there was no means by which to keep the reactors and spent fuel pools cooled.
Once that happens, explained Michael J. Reilly, director of the Division of Planning and Response at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, “it’s just a matter of time before the heat and the pressure build up and then you have a reactor accident.”
In the worst-case scenario, overheating in the reactor can trigger a hydrogen explosion, which can in turn lead to a breach of the containment structure, the reinforced building in which the reactor core is housed. This would lead to an uncontrolled release of radiation into the atmosphere.
Without an adequate flow of coolant to the spent fuel pool, the heat from the rods would begin to boil the water that remained, which would then evaporate, leaving the rods exposed to the air. At that point, the spent fuel could catch fire and explode, also leading to an unchecked release of radioactive material.
These explosions and fires can damage containment structures, as occurred at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, with some of its buildings reduced to shattered cement and twisted rebar. Ultimately, all of its six reactors were damaged, and three reactor cores melted down, dumping a massive amount of radioactivity into both the water and air. This release led to significant food-chain contamination and the evacuation of 70,000 people. Among the contaminants emitted from the plant was Cesium-137, a radioactive isotope with a long half-life that continues to be found in fish as far away as California.
In the case of a natural disaster like a hurricane, the direct impact on a single nuclear power station would likely be exacerbated by a cascade of indirect effects: a range of emergencies and failures unfolding throughout the surrounding area. As during Sandy, transportation would be radically curtailed with roads, bridges, tunnels, trains, and airports shut, as well as some roads blocked by floodwaters, felled trees, and large-scale debris. There could also be widespread power and water outages, fuel shortages, and downed communication lines.
The indirect effects would likely impair the response to a nuclear power plant disaster. When Hurricane Sandy hit, for example, almost a third of the sirens surrounding Pennsylvania’s Peach Bottom Generating Station near Chesapeake Bay that would warn residents within 10 miles of an emergency were inoperable. The NRC-required backup plan for this situation is for first responders to drive around the area with a loudspeaker announcing the emergency. When Remapping Debate asked the NRC’s Sheehan how this would happen if roads were flooded and blocked, he said the plant could send out text messages and announcements on television. What if there was no power and cell reception was down? “That’s always a concern,” he said.
Attempting to evacuate in the midst of a hurricane, Reilly said, is “trying to get out when the window for evacuation is over.”
Dr. Andrew S. Kanter, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and an associate professor at Columbia University, said that it is not realistic in today’s circumstances to assume that all key emergency facilities would be fully operational during a severe storm. During Sandy, for example, three major New York City hospitals lost power and were forced to evacuate.
“If there was a significant [nuclear] accident that took out all the hospitals in New York City, there’s not enough hospital beds in the entire region to relocate all of those people,” Kanter explained. “We’re running at maximum efficiency right now [in hospitals] and there isn’t a lot of excess reserve.”
The likelihood and level of such calamities depends on the intensity and scope of the storm. As Reilly pointed out, for all the havoc it wreaked, Sandy was a mere Category 1 hurricane. “This wasn’t the level of a Hurricane Katrina; it wasn’t that devastating of a natural disaster — this was a very basic hurricane,” Reilly said. “But the fact that it affected so many [nuclear power] facilities in that they seemed to have to shut reactors down, or de-power reactors, or the pumps failed, or they had to go onto generator power, or whatever the specific incident was, I think points to vulnerabilities,” he said. “That says to me that these facilities need to be hardened more because if they were faced with a Category 2 or a Category 3, it makes me concerned about whether or not they’d be able to safely shut down.”
Are nuclear power plants becoming more exposed to flood risks?
While climate scientists, including Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, the director of the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University, currently project that the frequency of tropical cyclones such as hurricanes will stay the same, or even decrease, the severity of these storms is expected to rise. This is the result of warming ocean surface temperature, due to increasing atmospheric temperatures. “There will be a shift from less intense, say, Category 1 and 2 hurricanes, toward more intense hurricanes,” Oppenheimer said.
Amplifying the effect of these more powerful storms will be a rise in sea level. “So there are two things expected to happen simultaneously which will increase surge levels in the future,” explained Oppenheimer. Consequently, he said, “Planning for any [nuclear] installations along the coast needs to keep that in mind.”
Does the NRC currently factor increased flooding risk due to climate change into its safety requirements?
Sheehan, the NRC spokesperson, said that the agency has not factored in the effects of climate change on nuclear plants’ flood safety.
According to Sheehan, the new NRC chief, Allison M. MacFarlane, recently told the agency’s staff that she wants to start taking into account climate change in nuclear plant safety. However, she has issued no official call, schedule, or process to include it in the NRC’s current or future regulations.
What’s more, the NRC has yet to even conduct a study focused on the risks to coastal plants of rising sea levels and storm surges caused by global warming. “We’re not at that point yet,” Sheehan said.
Nevertheless, Sheehan claimed that Oyster Creek and all the other nuclear power plants in Sandy’s path would have been fine if they had been directly hit by the storm.
Does the NRC have plans to close any nuclear power plants because of increased vulnerability to flooding?
What is the NRC doing to require nuclear power plants to better withstand flooding and its consequences?
In March 2012, the NRC issued updated flood-safety “recommendations” in response to the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. The recommendations require the country’s 65 nuclear power plants — which operate 104 reactors — to conduct internal assessments to ensure their facilities meet updated flood- and seismic-risk guidelines. If these reevaluations reveal inadequacies, then the facilities are required to develop remedial plans for NRC approval, and, when approved, implement those plans. But, as of now, the post-Fukushima recommendations issued by the NRC do notrequire the country’s nuclear power plants to assess their facilities in light of projected future consequences of global warming, such as a rise in sea level and more extreme storms.
The NRC is enacting its post-Fukushima recommendations in three tiers, the first of which has a deadline of 2017. However, the remaining two rounds currently have no due dates, and none of the rounds requires planning for current and future effects of global warming.
To some people, the NRC’s timeline of five years for the completion of Tier 1 reassessments and changes, and the lack of deadlines for Tiers 2 and 3 is unacceptable. Among the critics is Gregory P. Jaczko, former chairman of the NRC, under whose tenure the recommendations were studied, written and issued. (Jaczko left the agency in July of this year.) He would have preferred all recommendations be carried out in a single phase as opposed to divided into three tiers, and he thinks all of the changes could and should be made quickly.
“I still think the right answer would have been to shoot for five years,” Jaczko told Remapping Debate. It would be a lot of work, he said, noting that plants would have to bring in outside engineers, hydrogeologists, and other experts to conduct analyses and plan improvements, not to mention construction crews to make the changes. Doing so, he added, would be expensive. But neither point justifies delay, he said. “Make the metric not ‘How long is this going to take us?’ but ‘What do we need to do in order to get it done in five years?’”
One factor impeding faster upgrades, as Jaczko sees it, is that the NRCtends to accept the claims of many plants that assessments, analyses, and improvements can only be done when a plant shuts down a reactor for regularly scheduled refueling and maintenance, which happens every 18 to 24 months.
Indeed, Sheehan, the NRC spokesperson, takes the schedule defined by the plants’ refueling windows as a given when explaining the five-year time frame for the completion of Tier 1.
Jaczko had a different view. “Changes can be made at any time if they’re necessary for safety,” he said. “There’s no law that prevents the NRC from requiring changes during the period between scheduled outages.”
What are some basic flood mitigation strategies that could be implemented quickly?
Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive and current chief engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, a non-profit organization critical of the nuclear industry, offered ideas for what could be done in the near future to safeguard against flooding at coastal nuclear plants.
He suggested protecting each nuclear plant’s pump motors against floodwaters by reinforcing them. First, that means locating the motor in a watertight room — with no windows and a sealed flood door — as some plants have already done. But, Gundersen said, that’s not enough, because although the room is sealed, it is not designed to accommodate a surge that puts continued pressure on the structure. If the water reaches high enough levels, it can begin to undermine the room’s integrity. Because of the pressure “you’ll still get the water squirting in, so you have to make a sealed pump in a sealed room,” he said.
Reilly of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness said that upgrades like those suggested by Gundersen, as well as higher flood walls, could and should be put in place at relevant sites immediately.
Above and beyond the physical changes at plants to mitigate flooding, there are important questions about the culture of nuclear regulation that some say need to be addressed.
Reilly thinks the NRC should take a more active role, either itself or through an independent third party, in auditing plants and formulating their upgrade plans instead of the plants doing those tasks themselves, as is currently the practice.
Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists discounted the utility of deploying independent third parties, saying that the NRC itself should be held accountable for regulating plant safety. One way to do that would be for Congress to hold the agency to safety deadlines in the same way that it now holds the agency accountable for meeting deadlines regarding “business items,” such as plant-owner requests to extend the period for which a reactor is licensed, and to increase the amount of power the reactor is permitted to generate. Currently, Lochbaum said, the agency allocates far fewer staff and resources to its safety work than to those business items, and rarely sets safety deadlines that it keeps.
New Jersey Residents Avoid Rising Floodwater By Climbing To Top Of Chris Christie
EWING, NJ—Heeding the instructions of state officials and emergency personnel, thousands of New Jersey residents were able to escape Hurricane Sandy’s devastating floodwaters Monday by ascending to the crest of Gov. Chris Christie and riding out the storm atop the first-term Republican. “According to flyovers conducted this morning, several thousand citizens from Sandy Hook to Cape May—including almost the entire population of Atlantic City—followed our advice to climb up Mr. Christie’s legs and torso to reach the highest point of the governor,” said New Jersey emergency management director Rick Fuentes, noting that there were numerous food provisions located throughout the moderate Republican’s clothing that could be accessed by those currently stranded on him. “Thankfully, Gov. Christie has a strong, solidly built foundation and was easily able to withstand gusts of up to 90 miles per hour, as well as a fast-moving storm surge. So we ask the thousands of you still clinging to the governor to just hold tight—and don’t worry, because that thing’s not going anywhere.” Fuentes then stated that rescue boats and helicopters were being mobilized and urged the remaining citizens stuck atop Christie to be patient and avoid straying too close to his mouth.
Posted on 6th November 2012 by Stucky in Economy
I sent Obama an email last night complaining about the hardships we’re suffering due to the lack of power since last Sunday. Today, at 9:21AM, the power came on!!! So, I’m voting for Obama …. he makes shit happen!!
If you’re looking for an intelligent post, you should stop reading right now. Google has millions of pages regarding tips when the power goes out. For example, I found this gem …. “When power goes out drive to the nearest home improvement center and buy a generator.” No fucking shit, Jose’!! The power of the internet, truly awesome. No … you won’t find this kind of incredibly useful stuff in this post …. just mundane run of the mill bullshit observations I experienced firsthand. OK then …
The Weather Channel news anchors —– if you’re too fucking stooopid to get a job on CNN, Foc, etc., …. if you’re retarded beyond belief …. we have good newz for you!! The Weather Channel will hire you. Typical scenario: they show a family whose house is destroyed and the owners are worried about freezing their asses off. Typical comment: “You know, John, people really need to try to find shelter and stay warm.” Yup, stupid cockfucks, every one of them.
The Weather Channel, just like other cable newz, only has about 5 hours of new programming per day. The rest is the same old shit over and over and over and over. Commercials every 6-7 minutes. TV is worthless bullshit. The internet is the ONLY real source of real news.
Gas Generators use a shitload of fuel!! My two 5-gallon containers just didn’t cut it. I had to refill one every single goddamn day. I estimate that if I were to run it just 12 hours a day it would cost about $500. And don’t forget to stock up on oil …. needs to be replaced every 50 hours. And don’t forget an extra air filter, and a spark plug. Generators eat shit.
I used all my Bruce “I love Obama’s Cock” Springsteen CDs for kindling. Bad move. Had to call a Hazmat Team to remove all the toxic bullshit that filled the house.
I’d rather eat a skunk’s ass than eat canned vegetables. We’ve been buying all our fruits and veggies at a local Farmers Market. Obviously, they don’t last long. So, we bought about 30 cans of various veggies. So around Day 3 of the great blackout I decided to make some buffalo burgers on the grill, make some homemade fries on the stove (we still had gas), and opened a can of asparagus. Good Lord!! What a tasteless, texture-less, colorless, oder-less pile of shit. I spit it out of my mouth. The next day … as I was searching for generator gas … I dropped off the remaining 29 cans at a Salvation Army drop off point. I think they only take clothes. Fine. Let ‘em make shoes out of the asparagus. They’ll probably last longer than anything imported from China.
I discovered that I can live a whole week off one gigantic head of cabbage. I made cabbage soup in a gigantic pot. Ms Freud hates cabbage soup. I’m German, so I love it. But the ensuing farts made even my eyes water. One day someone is going to invent a device to capture all that wasted energy. They’ll make millions.
While I’m on that topic, taking a shit in total darkness is no fun. I like to look at my Lincoln Logs before I wipe my ass … so that I can determine how much toilet paper to use. It’s all about conservation. So I played it safe and used a shitload of toilet paper after each movement. I probably killed one extra tree as a result. Damn shame.
You’re never as prepared as you think. Supplies don’t last as long as you think. You will inevitably forget something … and that something will be critical. For example, we had an entire crate of candles … hundreds. We had one book of matches. We realized we had just one book of matches when we used up the last match. I then had to go to 3 stores to find matches. Another lesson learned: people will hoard exactly the very shit YOU are looking for.
Sex is total darkness can be tricky. I remarked to Ms Freud, “I didn’t realize you were so flat-chested, or so damn tight.” She said, “Turn me over, asshole!”
Chris Christie is an asshole. I’m done with him. Bring back Corzine … I know he’ll fuck me … but, at least he’ll say “Thank You” when it’s over.
I discovered that Scrabble is one way to keep Ms Freud from talking.
I swear to God, I think Mayor Bloomberg and all his hangers-on jerk each other off before appearing on air … seeing how they blow each other when they are on air. Everybody thanking and praising everybody else on what a great job they are doing. Talk, talk, bullshit, bullshit, more talk, more bullshit. I wish these guys would just die, every fucking one of them.
There is always at least one asshole per hundred people. They should be shot on the spot. Ms Freud and I were on our way to bring some food to my parents. We suddenly came upon a gas station with a pretty short line for gas-cans. I quickly pulled the car over so I could quickly get in line, and told Ms Freud to drive up the street to the Walgreen parking lot. The switch took less than 45 seconds. But the car was blocking the gas station exit, and 30 seconds into the switcheroo some dumb cunt in an SUV starts leaning on the horn. Krist. I give her the finger. She rolls down the window and starts yelling at me … calling me a ‘selfish prick’. I tell her to go fuck herself. At this point the crowd gets involved. Lol Some are yelling at me to move my damn car, and some are yelling at her to have some patience. At this point I am no longer pissed off. Rather, I am greatly amused at the ridiculousness of the entire affair. So, I decide to take another two minutes before I let Ms Freud drive off. I only let Ms Freud drive off when SUV-woman actually started crying and punching her windows. I know … I’m a prick, but even Ms Freud was laughing at the end, and that made my day.
I don’t know what to think about utility companies. I have nothing against the grunts in the field working their asses off. But … the front office? Bah!! For eight days we got eight different updates on when to expect power to be restored. Even yesterday the forecast was for a Friday restoration of power. I’m not an electric-guy … but it doesn’t seem like fucking rocket science to be a little more accurate.
I will NEVER donate even a penny to the Red Cross again. People in need don’t need coffee and doughnuts … unless you’re a useless fatfuk dumbass cop.
Fuckme. It looks like a Nor’easter will be here tomorrow. But, I’m well prepared this time. I’m gonna make sure Ms Freud is turned over.
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- The Telescreen Is Coming
- WHAT DID HE KNOW?
- WALKING AWAY
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- ANTHONY INSERTS HIS WEINER INTO THE RACE
- PAPER vs THE REAL THING
- EMPTY CHAIR
- Massive Commodity Inflation and Investing in Gold
- BELOW AVERAGE
- WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE GONE?
- BEND OVER
- QUOTES OF THE DAY
- AND THE BAND PLAYED ON
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- DO YOU BELIEVE?
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- QUOTE OF THE DAY
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Cost of War
The Gross National Debt
Cost of Peak Oil